It’s Monday, y’all! Time for another “Sing it on Sunday, Live it On Monday” post. In this weekly series, I’ll reflect on a worship song that I sung at church or during my week. If there ever was a series I’ve dreamed of writing, it’s this one. I love worship music. I appreciate the hard work of a songwriting to combine a lovely melody and sound theology, and, like I said last week, God reveals himself to me more clearly when I’m singing than any other time. Are you the same way? Does music nurture your spirit? Do you find yourself humming the music from Sunday well into the week? Or are you a super nerd like me and you find yourself googling, “the story behind (insert song title)” while waiting in the carpool lane? Then this series if for you, too! My hope is you’ll be encouraged, begin to think critically about the lyrics of the songs you sing, and apply those truths to your life in the coming week. This week the New City Church of Los Angeles worship band ended the set with unexpected favorite of mine, “Waiting Here for You.” [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J3OEGnH5x8g]
Sing it On Sunday:
I’ve mentioned before that I’m in a season full of questions. We’ve transitioned to a new city and I’m starting over in so many ways. Friendships. Church community. Work. Daily rhythms. My calling. It feels like everything, doesn’t it? Starting over is hard and so many days since we’ve moved to LA, I’ve felt like texting my friends back in Boston and asking for prayer or a virtual (((hug))). I miss them and, quite honestly, I remember all the work it took to get those friendships to healthy, life-giving, beautiful places- doing that here is overwhelming. Not impossible- but overwhelming. I was on the phone with one of those New England friends a couple of weeks ago and she said, “Osheta, it’s going to take time and that’s ok. Take the time. Lean into Jesus as your best friend right now. Be patient. You will make new friends, but this could be a sweet time of spiritual growth for you.” In a nutshell, my friend was encouraging me to wait well. It’s not the advice I wanted to hear, but it’s what I needed, but…what does waiting well look like though? What does it mean when our dreams- in my case finding my tribe of friends here in LA- are deferred? How do we get from, “we come with expectation, waiting here for you” to “Singing Alleluia”? To wait well is to choose joy in the waiting by rejecting anxiety and clinging to hope. Tall order, right? Yeah, that’s what I thought too, as we sang the chorus, but one truth about waiting jumped out to me from the lyrics: You’re the Lord of all creation And still you know my heart The Author of Salvation You’ve loved us from the start You’re the Lord of all creation And still you know my heart The Author of Salvation You’ve loved us from the start Our picture of God in the waiting determines our hope in Him and hope in a loving God helps us wait with joy in our hearts and praise on our lips. When you think of God, the one in whom you’re trusting with this big dream, who do you see? Do you see a stingy Daddy Warbucks, capitalizing on your suffering for his fame and his glory? Do you feel like you have this dream and He has the resources to make it happen, but he’s going to make you wait until you’re at your lowest and most in need, then He’ll show up? If that’s how you picture God in your waiting, then it’s no surprise that you won’t find any joy or redemption in- it’ll feel like a malicious ploy of the Divine. I’ve felt this way about God, but fortunately, this is not the picture of God that Jesus portrays. In fact, just yesterday, my kids asked me why Jesus came to earth- was it just to die for us or was there another reason? The answer I gave them was a esounding YES! Jesus came, not just to live a holy life and model self-giving love by dying on the cross, he came to show us the character of God as a loving father, who genuinely cares about our suffering who desires to be close to us as we wait! He came so that he can hold us with human arms, restore the outcasts, identify with our brokenness, and have first hand knowledge of our suffering. The Message version of Hebrews 4:14 says that:
Now that we know what we have—Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God—let’s not let it slip through our fingers. We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.
Earlier in Hebrews 1, we’re told that Jesus is the exact representation of the Father, some translations says Jesus “perfectly mirrors God”. If our picture of God looks like Jesus who loves us so much that he came to be with us- even in our suffering- then as we wait we can have hope. Not necessarily hope in the outcome, but hope in God himself. When I struggle with loneliness as I wait for community to form, I can have hope that God see me, he understands my needs, and he’s working to do good for me because Scripture promises me that “he’s so ready to give”
Live it On Monday
Are you like me and you’re in a season of waiting? It’s hard, I know. I hate waiting- I especially hate it when I have no or very little control- but what I’m hoping to do this week is to use that anxious energy to want to make something happen for prayer. I want to keep in mind a picture of God that looks like Jesus- always loving, always faithful, always wise and spend as much time processing all my fears through this lens of God as possible. I want to replace those fears with joy and maybe, just maybe what my friend said about this season- that it could be an opportunity for spiritual nourishment- will be true. So, if you’re like me and you’re in a season of waiting, will you pray this prayer with me and share in the comments how I can be praying for your waiting? Let’s choose joy, sisters! Let’s see God for who he really is and let’s allow him to nourish our waiting souls.
Prayer in the Waiting:
Thank you that you are the author and perfecter of our faith. We ask for a perfected faith in a loving God. As we’re waiting, we proclaim that we’re waiting for you. Not just the thing our hearts want so badly but you, Jesus. We know that you came to reveal to us the heart of the Father, that he is for us and not against us, that he grieves with us when the brokenness of this world keeps us from our deepest, truest desires, and that he is working on our behalf to bring goodness, wholeness, Shalom in our lives. Let us lean into that truth and let it re-frame how we see our waiting- however long it may be. Let your joy- the joy that comes from trusting in your goodness and your faithfulness be our strength when the waiting leaves us desperate. We choose joy, Lord. We choose hope. We choose to sing Alleluia. We choose you. We’re choosing to wait, for you with our hands lifted high, surrendering our anxiety and accepting your love. Thank you for this grace- we accept it and we want to live in it.
In your name we pray, Amen.